CEBU CITY, Philippines — It was not even coronation night yet.
But it looks like it on Wednesday evening, November 13, as 54 candidates representing the towns and cities of Cebu showcased beauty and grace in the Swimwear and Long Gown Competition of Binibining Cebu 2020.
Inside the Mandani Bay tent in Mandaue City, the audience was transported inside a jungle filled with beautiful ladies as they worked on impressing a stellar set of judges.
Serving as judges for the pre-pageant round were Cebu Provincial Board Member Glenn Anthony Soco, Binibining Pilipinas 2019 1st Runner-up Maria Andrea “Aya” Abesamis, fashion designer Mikee Andrei, international model Claudia Buzz Yeung and 2019 Philippine Elite Award Winner for Fashion Voltaire Tayag.
The candidates wore evening gowns designed by mentors and alumni of the Fashion Institute of Design and Arts Cebu (FIDA Cebu), which proves why Cebu is truly a Creative City of Design as hailed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).
Regal and stunning in their gowns which embraced the black-and-white theme, the candidates showcased the works of the designers in a show that ran for more than two hours.
Long gown designers
The pre-pageant event was also a venue to present the designs of established and budding Cebuano designers/artists.
Master couturier Cary Santiago chose the Top 3 winners of the Best Fashion Designer award.
The top plum went to Philipp Tampus, who was the Philippine representative to the London Fashion Week last September 2019.
Tampus designed the gowns of the candidates representing Mandaue City (Ena Velasco), Medellin (Baby Blanche Comecilla) and Minglanilla (Mary Angelica Pantaliano).
The runner-ups of the best designer award were Valerie Alvez and Jeanom Ursua.
Alvez designed the evening gowns of the candidates representing Dumanjug (Reina Alexis Tavera), Ginatilan (Princess Paraiso) and Lapu-Lapu City (Chloe Boone).
Ursua is the creative hands behind the gowns of Ciairha Monsanto (Borbon), Marla Alforque (Carcar City) and Danika Ocampo (Carmen).
The candidates wore emerald green bikini by the PauLina collection of another Visayan artist, Mikee Andrei.
Andrei, who hails from Bohol and considers Cebu as her second home, creates ready-to-wear dresses, swimwear and a bridal collection.
The PauLina collection showcases the fun and vibrancy of mixing plains with prints and patters as the candidates stepped out of the jungle to parade Andrei’s creations.
Noteworthy in Andrei’s design are the multiway tops, which the candidates wore over their swimsuit. The multiway tops are suitable for all body types, which is Andrei’s way of celebrating the diversity of women’s varied figures.
The candidates’ performance in the swimwear and long gown competition will constitute 30% of the pre-pageant scores, which will determine the Top 20 finalists in the coronation night that will be held on January 13, 2020, which falls within the week of the Sinulog Festival.
This is the pageant’s third edition but this is the first time that the coronation night will be held in January.
The first Binibining Cebu happened on October 19, 2017, which declared Apriel Smith (Binibining Cebu), Samantha Ashley Lo (Binibining Cebu Tourism) and Maria Gigante (Binibining Cebu Charity) as the winners.
Lo went on to compete in the Binibining Pilipinas 2019 pageant where she eventually won the Binibining Pilipinas Grand International crown and earned her the privilege to represent the Philippines in the Miss Grand International 2019 pageant in Caracas, Venezuela.
The second edition of the pageant happened on October 19, 2019 at the same venue, the Pacific Grand Ballroom of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.
Steffi Rose Aberasturi won as Binibining Cebu 2018 title alongside Kimberly Covert (Binibining Cebu Tourism), Tracy Maureen Perez (Binibining Cebu Charity), Lou Piczon (Binibining Cebu Heritage) and Isabela Deutsch (Binibining Cebu Ecology).
Binibining Cebu is organized by Bb. Sugbu Charity Foundation Inc. and the Sacred Heart School for Boys Batch 1985 Foundation, Inc.
The pageant’s official Facebook Page says that Binibining Cebu “provides a forum for today’s young women to express their viewpoints, talents, accomplishments and special cultural heritage from their home town.”